They're one of the great signature sights of the Australian bush and they've kept me company everywhere from Whitsunday Island and Arnhem Land, to Tasmania and Cape Le Gande in WA. Most of all, their brethren are indivisible from the life-long experience in my heartlands of Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges.
We're talking grass trees - the genus Xanthorrhoea. Or, as we know them, Yaccas.
Aside from anything else these striking bundles of strappy leaves are emphatically of this continent and nowhere else. And they're diverse in scale with some in arid parts barely knee-high, while others tower over 5m tall.
Nothing else has a more graphic, fine etched presence than a yacca. They're one of the few native plants that offer the poise of symmetry to our passing gaze. Plus of course there's the straight-up flower stalks. An unwavering line in the Australian bush, who's ever heard of such a thing! Perhaps best of all is their presence en masse, filling highland slopes like a warrior battalion.
It's a great buzz that the humble Yaccas - and the life-vigour they harbour and embody - have found their way into the inspiration of our local artists. Join in the celebration at Kangaroo Island's annual SALA festival show at the National Wine Centre.
August 5 - 28
Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat & Sun | 9am-9pm
Opening Event Sunday 7 August | 2 - 4.30pm